Green politics, philosophy, history, paganism and a lot of self righteous grandstanding.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

What Do I Believe?

What do I believe?

Well lots of things, but if I had to distil my beliefs down to the minimum it would be this; we must live lightly on the earth, inequality is bad for everyone, and human rights are not an optional extra.

That is my triple bottom line.

What is the alternative to sustainability?

Extinction.

What is the alternative to equality?

Oppression or revolution.

What is the alternative to human rights?

Being less than human.

So how are we doing by these three measures?

Sustainability


This is the clearest problem.

Calculations vary, but the human race as a whole probably passed the point at which it's life style was sustainable some time in the seventies. Not that our Western way of life was sustainable even then, it was just balanced by extreme poverty in the rest of the world.

Since then we've only made the problem worse. The only saving grace is that for the last forty years or so a growing proportion of the population has at least realised that there is a problem.

Inequality?


Probably even worse.

Since Neoliberalism became the dominant political and economic orthodoxy in the seventies and eighties we have created more billionaires than ever before, whilst the number of people living in slums is greater than the population of the planet at the time of Charles Dickens.

Perhaps the worst thing is we now consider this normal. Strange to think that in the lifetime of my parents, under FDR and the New Deal, inequality in the USA actually fell. The number of millionaires dropped by a third and the billionaire ceased to exist.

Human rights?


One hundred years ago our ancestors were proud of the fact that they had outlawed torture and that war was only fought between soldiers. 

There was a fair bit of self delusion here. The European Empires were forged and maintained by the torture and execution of civilians, but on home soil we had a veneer of civilisation.

Today near half of Americans believe torture is acceptable and civilians are the most likely victims in war.

But it's not all bad.

In 1970, the year I was born, there were effectively no humans rights in the USSR and Warsaw Pact countries, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, most of Central America, most of Africa including South Africa and Rhodesia if you were black, Burma, China, North Korea, Pakistan, Taiwan and Thailand. That's most of the human race.

So things may be better today for our fellow man.

For women the situation is even clearer. A century ago only women in Sweden and New Zealand had what we would now consider full civil rights.

So we can make a difference.

So if you want to know why I'm so f*ckin' angry, and why I still fight, there it is.

No comments: